The Isle of Man is an island in the Irish sea between England and Ireland. Although the population has always been relatively small, emigration has usually been an issue with young adults often travelling to England and further afield in search of better lives. You may have ancestors who either came from the island or who worked in the mines there. So, here is a roundup of the genealogy resources available to help you find your Isle of Man ancestors.

How to find your Isle of Man Ancestors. Bespoke Genealogy

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom; it is a self-governing Crown dependency with the Queen as Head of State. This means that genealogy records are not usually found with those for England and Wales.

Key Records

Civil Registration

Compulsory civil registration of births and burials started on the island in 1878 with marriages following in 1884.

The civil registration indexes can be searched for free on the volunteer site ManxBMD.

To obtain copies of actual birth, marriage and death records, you need to apply (online) to the Civil Registry. Fees are charged for this service.

Church Records

As civil registration began much later on the Isle of Man than in England and Wales, parish registers are very important. Most of the population were Anglican and many of these registers have been digitized and are available on the free Family Search website.

Roman Catholics and non-conformists were required by law to marry in Anglican churches until 1849. These marriages will therefore be recorded in the Anglican registers. After 1849 until the start of civil registration in 1884, they could marry in their own church, but in the presence of a Deputy Registrar. There may have been a non-compulsory marriage record produced, and if so, it will be found at the Civil Registry

Census Records

As in England, Wales and Scotland, a census has been taken on the Isle of Man every 10 years since 1841 (apart from 1941).

The Isle of Man Family History Society has free indexes to the 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 and 1901 censuses.

The subscription site Ancestry has indexes and images of all the returns between 1841 and 1911.

Other Resources

Here are some other important Isle of Man genealogy resources:

Family Search

As well as the online church records mentioned above, Family Search has other Isle of Man resources which are available online or at a Family History Library. Check the Isle of Man page for details.


The imuseum website run by Manx National Heritage has the same parish records as Family Search (above) as well as historic photographs and newspapers. Newspapers access is via a subscription.

Isle of Man Family History Society

As well the census indexes (above), the Isle of Man Family History Society also has some other resources available online:

Library and Archives

The Manx National Heritage’s Library and Archives site has a series of guides explaining the records that they hold, which have to be viewed in person. The archives are unable to undertake research themselves, but they have produced a Research Contacts guide on the site which lists local researchers.

A Manx Notebook

This site, compiled by Frances Coakley, is a collection of, mostly, 19th century transcriptions of publications relating to the Isle of Man.

Genealogy Links

The Isle of Man Genealogy Page contains a list of other useful links related to the island.

For British genealogy websites, check out: 20 Totally Free UK Genealogy Sites

Happy researching!

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